LEN WISEMAN EXPOSES “UNDERWORLD”

From David Fincher to Guy Ritchie to McG, many of the most technically inventive directors working today started out shooting commercials and music videos. How did that experience allow you to develop the aesthetic we see in “Underworld”?
It was definitely a very ambitious movie to be my first. When we got together with (production company) Lakeshore (Entertainment), we sat around a table and said, “We realize we’ve got a script that needs $60 million, and we’re going to try and do it for $20.” It was incredibly ambitious, but I was just so passionate about making this movie. This movie allowed me to showcase everything that I’ve been wanting to do. It allowed me to take all of my experience with production design and tricks and everything that I’d been doing in the video world and adapt them here, to try to just stretch the dollar and make it look like every other movie that’s out there in terms of just sheer budget range.

In other interviews, you’ve mentioned your plans to make a prequel and sequels to “Underworld.” What other projects are you developing?
There’s a project that we sold at about the same time as the pitch to “Underworld,” and we’ve just finished the first draft. It’s called “Black Chapter” and is set up over at Disney. I was pitching it as “The Sixth Sense” meets “La Femme Nikita.” It’s a high-action ghost film. Danny (McBride) and I — it’s the same writer as “Underworld”; we’re working as a team — we had never seen a ghost film as an action film. You’ve seen them as horror or thriller, suspense, even comedy, but you’ve never seen a straightforward, serious action film with ghosts. It’s really cool. Basically, we find out that the C.I.A. is using ghost agents. It’s a complete comic book in a very dark and serious tone.




Posted on September 18, 2003 in Interviews by

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